All drivers on the road need coverage for themselves, their vehicle, and others. This includes motorcyclists. Having proper motorcycle insurance can not only protect you from liability issues, but also protect your bike from weather damage, theft, and much more.
Even better, our independent insurance agents can help you find just the right kind of motorcycle insurance for your needs. And they'll get you set up with that coverage long before you ever need to file a claim. But first, here's a deep dive into motorcycle insurance.
What Is Motorcycle Insurance and How Does it Work?
Motorcycle insurance is basically a special form of auto insurance designed to protect owners and riders of motorcycles. Policies come with liability protection for third-party bodily injury or property damage, which is actually legally required in most states. Motorcycle insurance also comes with several optional coverages, like collision coverage to protect you from accidents and comprehensive insurance to greatly expand your protection.
Why Do I Need Motorcycle Insurance?
Motorcycles can be dangerous, and even deadly. Motorcycle riders are much more likely to suffer serious injury or death in an accident than drivers of other vehicles on the road.
Number of motorcyclists killed in crashes in the United States from 2006 to 2018
Not only are motorcycles notorious for fatal accidents, but the number of fatal crashes has greatly increased over the past couple of decades alone. In 2018, there were a reported 5,115 fatal motorcycle crashes. This amount was more than double the number reported in 1995 — 2,268 fatal crashes.
Motorcycle insurance, and especially personal injury protection, are extremely important due to the risky nature of motorcycle riding. An independent insurance agent can further explain why having coverage is so critical.
Who Sells Motorcycle Insurance?
Motorcycle insurance is available from several insurance companies, and the best way to find the right carrier for you is through working with an independent insurance agent. While many insurance companies offer a motorcycle insurance policy, finding coverage could also depend on the area you live in. Review our list of the best motorcycle insurance companies for specific rider-types for a more complete breakdown. But, here's a look at a few of the best.
Who is your motorcycle insurance provider?
In 2019, the most popular motorcycle insurance carriers were Allstate (18%), GEICO (17%), and Progressive (15%). State Farm, USAA, and Liberty Mutual were also among the most commonly used motorcycle insurance providers.
- Best overall motorcycle insurance company: Allstate
One of the largest insurance companies in the US, not only has Allstate been rated an "A+" by AM Best, but they're also a provider of excellent motorcycle coverage. Motorcyclists love Allstate's complete picture of coverage, with the following types of protection available for customers.
- Bodily injury liability
- Property damage liability
- Medical payments
- Personal injury protection
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist
- Towing and labor coverage
- Rental reimbursement
- Transport trailer damage
- Lease/loan gap coverage
- Optional/added equipment coverage
Allstate also offers several generous discounts for its motorcycle insurance customers, including one for insuring more than one motorcycle. It's no wonder so many customers choose Allstate as their top choice for dependable and affordable motorcycle coverage.
What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover?
In general, a motorcycle insurance policy is similar to an auto policy. Three forms of liability coverage together in one convenient package comprise the core of protection. Motorcycle insurance can then be completed with various optional coverages.
The main liability coverages in motorcycle liability insurance
- Bodily injury liability for one person: Covers treatment costs if someone is hurt.
- Bodily injury liability for all people involved: Covers treatment costs if multiple people are hurt.
- Property damage liability: Covers repair costs if property gets damaged.
With motorcycle insurance, you set your protection limits. So if you purchase a 10/20/10 plan, your insurance company will pay up to $10,000 in medical care for one person, $20,000 for all injuries, and $10,000 in property damage.
What Are Other Common Motorcycle Insurance Coverages?
Once you've got your liability protection squared away, there are still many other coverages your independent insurance agent may recommend adding to your motorcycle insurance policy. These can include the following.
- Collision coverage: Covers damage to your motorcycle after an accident involving a collision with another motorcycle or object, like fences and buildings.
- Comprehensive coverage: Covers much more in terms of threats to your motorcycle, such as wind and flood damage, theft, etc.
- Medical payments coverage: Covers reasonable and necessary medical expenses if you injure yourself or your passengers while using your motorcycle.
- Personal injury protection: Covers medical expenses and lost income as well as funeral expenses, childcare, and more if you get severely injured in a motorcycle accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Covers you in the event you get involved in an accident with another driver who doesn't have any or sufficient coverage of their own.
Your independent insurance agent can help recommend any of these coverages or others to add to your motorcycle insurance policy if they feel they're right for you.
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Extra Coverages for Motorcycle Insurance
Believe it or not, there are still several other additional motorcycle insurance options to choose from. Some of the most common extras offered by insurance companies include the following.
- Motorcycle and off-road vehicle transport trailer damage: Covers your trailer from damage and losses relating to collision, rollover, vandalism, and many natural disasters.
- Loan/lease gap coverage: Covers the difference between your motorcycle's current value and what's owed on your loan or lease if your bike gets stolen or totaled in an accident. Loan/lease gap coverage is only available if you first purchase both comprehensive and collision insurance.
- Towing and labor coverage: Covers the costs of towing and labor if you get into an accident or your bike breaks down.
- Rental reimbursement: Covers the costs of a rental if your bike gets stolen or is in the shop for repairs.
- Optional/added equipment coverage: Available from certain insurers for aftermarket upgrades to your bike like crash bars, custom seats, and fairings. Available coverage amounts vary by insurer.
If you're unsure of whether or not your motorcycle insurance package is truly complete, your independent insurance agent can help you fill in any remaining gaps.
What's Not Covered by Motorcycle Insurance?
Motorcycle insurance provides a lot of important protection, but not all uses of your bike are covered. Motorcycle insurance tends to exclude the following.
- Commercial or business use of your motorcycle: If your motorcycle is used for deliveries or other business endeavors, you'll likely need a commercial auto insurance policy.
- Track days and competitions: Many policies don't cover track days or competitions and require at least temporary extra coverage for these events.
Sometimes you can buy a rider or endorsement to get the additional coverage you need that's not provided by your regular motorcycle insurance policy, and sometimes you need to purchase full add-ons. Your independent insurance agent will help you address any coverage exclusion concerns you may have.
Is Motorcycle Insurance Required?
Well, that's tricky to answer, since each state is different. Every state besides Washington, Montana, and Florida requires liability insurance at a minimum, but the coverage amounts are often up to you. Also, every state except for Florida actually does require you to show proof of insurance before you can register your bike and get your license plate.
But really, regardless of whether or not coverage is mandatory in your area, having motorcycle insurance is crucial in case of accident, injury, theft of your property, etc. An independent insurance agent can further explain why having coverage is a must, whether it's legally required or not.
What Are Motorcycle Insurance Lay-Up Periods?
Many insurance companies offer separate coverage for "lay-up" periods, or when riders store their motorcycles, often during winter. While your regular motorcycle insurance policy still covers hazards like theft during lay-up periods, having special lay-up coverage instead can help save you money during these times. Just know that if you ride your motorcycle on the road while you're equipped with only lay-up coverage, you won't be protected in case of an accident.
Insurance for Totaled or Stolen Motorcycles
Some of the greatest disasters that could happen to a motorcycle owner are theft of their bike or the total destruction of it in an accident or other catastrophe. Depending on your specific policy, your settlement payment can come in one of three forms which you should be familiar with the following.
- Actual cash value: Reimburses you for the current cash value of your bike, factoring in depreciation and the cost of your deductible.
- Stated amount: Reimburses you for the amount you chose when you bought your policy.
- Agreed value: Reimburses you for the amount agreed on when you first bought the policy. The deductible is not subtracted from your claims check.
Custom or classic bike owners are most often offered either stated amount or agreed value settlements from their insurance companies when signing up for coverage. An independent insurance agent can help you find a policy with the settlement type you want.
How Much Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost?
Motorcycle insurance premiums can range anywhere from a couple hundred bucks per year to more than $1,000 per year—varying by state, company and a whole saddlebag full of other factors. Here are some averages by state.
There are several factors that can affect the cost of your policy
- Where you live: Nearly every state has different minimum liability limits, as well as requirements for collision coverage.
- What you ride: The make, model and year of your motorcycle will affect the cost of insurance. Just like a car, a new bike costs more to repair or replace than an old one. And if you’ve souped it up with a turbo kit or a more powerful engine, you can expect your premium to reflect that.
- Who you are: Your age and driving history are also taken into consideration with liability insurance. Statistically speaking, younger drivers are more likely to be in a serious accident, which means the cost of coverage is higher. Motorists with a history of collisions and traffic violations will also pay more.
- How you ride it: If you use your bike every day to get to and from work, your risk for an accident is higher. If you only take it out for weekend joyrides, you are not as likely to encounter as many hazards.
- Where you keep it: If you keep your motorcycle locked in a garage when not in use, this will result in lower premiums than if you leave it on the street.
An independent insurance agent can help find exact motorcycle insurance quotes for your area, as well as scout out any discounts you qualify for.
Discounts and Savings on Motorcycle Insurance
Many insurance companies offer several discounts on their coverage for motorcycles, such as the following.
- Multiple motorcycle discount: If you insure more than one bike through the same company, you could save quite a bit on your coverage.
- Multi-policy discount: Many insurance companies offer discounts for bundling motorcycle coverage with another policy, like homeowners or other auto insurance.
- Good rider discount: If you maintain an accident-free driving record for a set amount of time, you might qualify for a discount.
- Motorcycle organization membership discount: If you're a member of an organization like the American Motorcycle Association, Road Riders Association, Harley Owners Group, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, or many others, you could qualify for savings on your coverage.
- Safety course discount: If you complete a state-approved motorcycle safety course, you could qualify for a discount on your coverage.
The best way to find discounts and other savings you qualify for is through working with an independent insurance agent.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Insurance
Motorcycle insurance provides a lot of important protection, not just for your bike but for yourself as the driver. Coverage includes protection against lawsuits, theft, or damage of your bike, and much more. It all depends on which coverages you select when building your policy, though.
If you need to file a motorcycle insurance claim, start by contacting your independent insurance agent. They'll contact your insurance company for you, and keep you informed on every step of the claims process. How long it takes to get reimbursed for your claim will depend on your insurance company.
The cost of your policy depends on several factors, including where you live and what kind of bike you have. Costs can range from hundreds of dollars annually to over a thousand.
Motorcycle insurance is essentially just a specific form of auto insurance tailored to meet the needs of motorcycle owners. There are various coverage options available that apply to motorcycle drivers, but not car owners.
That depends on where you live. While many states require it, many others don't. Though if you lease or finance your moped or scooter, your mortgage lender is likely to require you to have coverage.
The Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents are kind of like the Google of insurance quotes. You tell them what you’re looking for, and they bring in the results. And since they aren’t tied down to one carrier, they’re free to shop around and bring multiple policy options to the table.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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